These past few days in SF have been amazing.
Chesa’s courage and brilliance and grace were on full display. I’ve never been more proud of him.
If you haven’t seen his talk from election night, see it below in my previous post.
He and Valerie were so in sync, so steady, so encouraging and generous to everyone around them–it was breath-taking.
Of course we talked late into the night on Tuesday, drinking whiskey.
He and they will do many great things.
But I’m in awe today, filled with admiration and hope.
Zayd Ayers Dohrn was born underground – his parents were radicals and counter-culture outlaws, on the run from the FBI. Now Zayd takes us back to the 1970s, when his parents and their young friends in the Weather Underground Organization declared war on the United States government. They brawled with riot cops on the streets of Chicago, bombed the Pentagon and the U.S. Capitol, broke comrades out of prison, and teamed up with Black militant groups to rob banks, fight racism – and help build a revolution.
This expansive narrative podcast features Bernardine Dohrn and Bill Ayers in their own voices, along with intimate interviews with Weather Underground members like Jeff Jones and Kathy Boudin. The show captures the 1970s with voice features from figures like Fred Hampton, Angela Davis, Assata Shakur and more. And it brings us up to today with interviews with Zayd’s own generation – Weather kids and Panther Cubs like Thai Jones, Chesa Boudin, and Kakuya Shakur.
Over the ten-part series, Zayd journeys to understand his parent’s radicalization and how it molded his family and life – and the history of this country. Born underground with his parents on the run from the FBI, Zayd unpacks a childhood in the shadows of the Weather Underground through intimate conversations with his family and friends. Ultimately, he must square his personal experience of his loving parents with their notorious media portrayals – narratives that have long been weaponized by conservative media and politicians, most notably during Barack Obama’s first presidential campaign.
Play this fabulous trailer:
EPISODE # 49) The Dialectic of Freedom
Everything’s in motion, everything in flux, nothing and no one stays the same: the young become the old, stories get retold, and the blowtorch of history illuminates the path ahead. That’s the way of time—the center cannot hold, and everything that is solid melts into air. I pause and sit down with my friend and comrade Wayne Au to talk about dialectics, contradiction, and the meaning of freedom. Dr. Au is a professor in the School of Educational Studies at the University of Washington Bothell, a scholar/activist, and a deeply engaged social justice organizer. Wayne is an editor at my favorite teaching magazine, Rethinking Schools, and the author of A Marxist Education: Learning to Change the World, an essential text for understanding the mess we’re in, and the possibilities before us.
48) I Have a Story to Tell
I remember when in 2003 Ruth Simmons, the first Black president of an Ivy League school, launched an investigation into Brown University’s toxic ties to slavery. That illuminating and inspiring effort began with questions: What do we know? Who is visible in history? What stories are missing or suppressed? What is owed? Harvard just released a report revealing its own links to America’s original sin—one illuminating contrast is the names of the wealthy and the powerful (Increase Mather, Governor John Winthrop) alongside the human beings they enslaved who bore a single name or no name at all: Juba, Cesar, Venus, “The Moor.” What are their stories? What wisdom and richness is denied? Tara Betts, thinker and creator, mentor and teacher, author of the poetry collections Arc & Hue, Break the Habit, and the forthcoming Refuse to Disappear, joins me Under the Tree for a conversation about poetry, teaching, and the need for radical repair in this urgent moment.